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Johannesburg - Efforts to clean a Gauteng school of drugs and violence has landed a principal in trouble with suspected drug dealers.

Last month, the head of Wiseman Cele High School in Tshepisong on the West Rand was allegedly visited by two gun-wielding drug pedlars after the principal foiled an alleged illicit drug trade that was blossoming on the school’s premises.

Police spokesperson Captain Solomon Sibiya said the incident occurred after the school’s head was informed of a Grade 10 learner who was in possession of a substantial amount of dagga, as well as roughly R2 800 in cash.

Sibiya said the principal then contacted the local police’s social crime unit, which works with schools and other stakeholders in the area.

“The social unit went to the school and searched some of the classes, where the learner was found in possession of dagga. We then arrested him and told him that he had to share with us who his suppliers were,” Sibiya said.

“The learner duly obliged with two names of his suppliers, who were both arrested. One of the suppliers was charged with possession and the other with dealing in dagga. The learner was charged with dealing with drugs,” the spokesperson added.

Things came to a head after the two suspected dealers were released on bail late last month. They allegedly paid the principal a visit in her office and threatened her. “The allegations, according to the principal, are that the two arrived at the school to intimidate her, and one of the alleged assailants pointed a gun at the principal,” Sibiya said.

Steve Mabona, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), said the principal had been at the school since the beginning of last month following a comprehensive recruitment process.

Mabona said the GDE sent officials to the school after the arrest of the learner, saying “other perpetrators” were involved in the alleged drug trade.

“They (perpetrators) were suspended for five days, as prescribed, and have since come back but are writing exams at a venue outside Wiseman Cele. The school is sending invigilators and question papers while waiting for a final sanction. The principal and staff have gone through counselling and are continuing with their duties at the school,” Mabona said.

“Patrollers who are employed at the gate are searching learners as they enter as well as on random occasions. The SAPS are also invited to conduct random searches with sniffer dogs,” Mabona added.

Sibiya asserted that police would continue to monitor the school and provide security for the principal.  “Of course we will continue to protect the principal because our social crime unit works very closely with her. If there are any other principals who feel threatened in anyway while doing their jobs, they must feel free to contact the police,” Sibiya added.

Khume Ramulifho, a DA member of the Gauteng legislature, said provincial lawmakers would debate this issue and try to come up with ways of assisting schools which were trying to eliminate criminality.

The Star